Steve-O Opens Up About Why ‘Wildboyz’ Opted to ‘Pretend That We Were in Africa’ for Lion-Grabbing Stunt

The 'Wildboyz' star opened up about why "every time that we filmed interacting with a lion, like every time, we were always pretending that we were in Africa."

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Steve-O got into detail about why his MTV series Wildboyz—which may have been the only show on TV to guest star both Method Man and Tony Hawk—never actually filmed in Africa despite giving that impression. 

The stuntman and Jackass team member explained on a new episode of his podcast Steve-O’s Wild Ride why the 2003-06 show co-starring Chris Pontius “took liberties” about a sequence with a lion. 

“With Jackass we were very, very honest, we had integrity, we never tried to deceive the audience. That was Jackass. But with Wildboyz, we took liberties to pretend that we were in Africa when actually we were filming in California,” Steve-O shared when asked about a stunt with a lion being grabbed by the tail. “And it wasn’t because we wanted to lie to the audience. In fact, when we went to go film the pilot for Wildboyz in South Africa, we brought that two-man zebra suit and we wanted to go on a safari and have a lion there. And we quickly found out that a lion in the wild on safari in Africa, you don’t get in a fucking zebra suit and fucking try to play around with that thing.”

He continued, “So there are a lot of situations like that. And so every time that we filmed interacting with a lion, like every time, we were always pretending that we were in Africa, but in fact we were in California at a place called Hollywood Animals.”

The 47-year-old said that although Jackass’ go-to wild animal expert Manny Puig—who was also on the podcast episode, excerpted up top—famously grabbed a lion by the tail, it was a relatively “tame lion.” However, Steve-O then disputed whether big cats can really be tamed.

Puig added that the inspiration was “the Maaasi people [who] grab a lion by the tail on a lion hunt,” saying Wildboyz found it “the cool thing to do, copying another culture like a Maasai in Africa.”

Steve-O previously wrote about filming Wildboyz in his 2011 book Professional Idiot: A Memoir, sharing that he and cast members sometimes took “liberties with the truth” to bring the hit show together.

Of course, Steve-O heads back to the big screen in February for the next installment of his home franchise, Jackass Forever, directed by Jeff Tremaine. Check out the trailer featuring Tyler, the Creator and Eric Andre here.

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